Organising committee chairperson wants Durban to host World Cup inauguration

February 17th, 2009 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Feb 17 (IANS) Chairperson of the 2010 Local Organising Committee Irvin Khoza, raising doubts on Johannesburg’s ability to host the 2010 football World Cup opening ceremony, said Durban is the ideal city to host it.

“I wish the opening ceremony would be hosted here in Durban but that decision doesn’t lie with me. The city has done tremendous work in preparing for the 2010 World Cup,” Khoza was quoted as saying by Mail and Guardian.

Khoza was speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of the 350 metre-long arch of the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.

It is not that Johannesburg is not capable of hosting the opening ceremony, but scenes Saturday night on the successful inauguration of the arch at the Moses Mabhida stadium, one of the World Cup venues, showed why Khoza wants Durban to replace Johannesburg.

Traffic around the stadium came to a stand still as passers-by tried to catch a glimpse of the fireworks and the laser show, which painted Durban’s skyline in brilliant shades of red, green and pink.

It was fitting that the event was hosted on Valentine’s Day as people really “fell in love” with the Moses Mabhida stadium.

Julie-May Ellingson, who heads Durban’s strategic projects unit and the city’s preparations for 2010, said the completion of the arch is a major milestone.

“This is an event which we’ve eagerly looked forward to for many months. This is proof that we are well on track,” said Ellingson.

Durban officials believe the arch will give the city a landmark similar to Sydney’s Opera House, New York’s Statue of Liberty and Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.

The stadium, which will host first- and second-round matches and a semi-final, will be able to seat 70,000 fans.

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